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John Clement, Unigate chairman – obituary

John Clement

John Clement, who has died aged 85, was a fourth-generation dairyman who became chairman of Unigate – and set out to transform it from Britain’s biggest milk delivery business to a food and transport conglomerate.

Unigate traced its history to 1885, when (according to legend) Guildford grocers Charles and Leonard Gates were seized by pro-temperance sentiment, poured away their stock of wines and spirits and converted their yard into a dairy. Their business flourished in succeeding generations and expanded into baby foods under the brand-name Cow & Gate. In 1959 it merged with United Dairies to form Unigate.

John Clement’s family business, Howards Dairies at Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, had been absorbed into United Dairies in the 1950s. John was promoted to run the group’s London dairy operations until 1969, when he was recruited to become assistant managing director of Rank Leisure Services, running...

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